What is recursion? What is head-recursion and tail-recursion? Should we use recursive or non-recursive functions?
In programming, Recursion is way of designing an Algorithm where a function is defined in terms of itself. Typically the function performs some part of the task and rest is defined in terms of itself.
For example: Sum of first n numbers (n being positive) can be defined in terms of Sum of first (n-1) numbers as below.
Few points to note in the above recursion:
1. A recursion always have a terminating condition (else it will be infinite recursion). In the above case the condition that if (n==1) then stop recursion and return 1. 2. The function performs some tasks and delegate some. In the above example, the function performs the addition of n with the return value of the Sum(n-1) but delegate the computation of Sum(n-1).
The function (in C language) for the above recursion will be (Not putting a check for n being non-positive)
or to write it in more compact form:
A Iterative version of the above recursion will be
As seen above a recursion can normally be mapped to a loop. So we have two versions a recursive version and an iterative version. Which one of the above do you think is better from a performance point of view?
Next Page : How recursions happens internally…